D.C. scratch-off absence could mean loss for city

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - It could soon be difficult to find scratch-off lottery tickets in Washington, and a lack of scratch-offs could mean a big loss of revenue for the city.

Boxes in the basement of the D.C. Lottery headquarters contain all the scratch-off tickets it has left to distribute. Additional scratch-off tickets are not being made, which has the city's 500 lottery vendors worried.

“We’re very concerned as business people in D.C. because we’re going to lose a lot of sales to competing Maryland and Virginia,” says Shawn Kim.

The District's contract with longtime vendor Scientific Games International expired Saturday. Scientific Games submitted the only viable bid to continue providing instant tickets to the city. But the D.C. Council rejected the bid because it fell far short of a requirement that local businesses receive at least 35-percent of major contracts.

“We are more than happy to take suggestions from [the{ }Department of Small and Local Business Development] from the lottery to find those contractors,” says Philip Bauer, an attorney for Scientific Games.

Now Washington stands to lose $12 million in revenue. The Council is blaming the chief financial officer’s office that runs the lottery, saying a temporary extension should have been made.

“I’ve told the CFO what they need to do is extend it,” says Councilmember Jack Evans. “They refuse to do so.”

The CFO’s office says the Council rejected 17 percent and that was the only contract.

“If we had come back with an extension that said 17 percent we would be disregarding their voice,” says David Umansky, CFO spokesperson.